Print Page   |   Your Cart   |   Sign In
Finance & Legal
Group HomeGroup Home Blog Home Group Blogs

America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Saturday, April 8, 2017

America is Now Known as the Land of the Free and Home of the Hacked

by David Coffey, Opinion Contributor - 3/31/17

 

Unfortunately, Americans are now familiar with identity theft, from having experienced it themselves or personally knowing a victim of this insidious crime.

The Consumer Sentinel Network, maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), tracks consumer fraud and identity theft complaints. Of the 3.1 million complaints received in 2015, 16 percent were related to identity theft, which represented an increase by more than 47 percent from 2014. In fact, identity theft is reported as America’s No. 7 fear — before economic collapse and right after biowarfare.

This is not at all the case in Europe. Except for the U.K., our neighbors across the Atlantic barely know about identity theft. There are a number of systemic reasons for this happier situation, and some of them should inspire our policymakers here in the U.S.

Identity theft starts with the misappropriation of a victim’s personal identifiers. I am sure that none of the readers of this article would ever write their home address or license plate number on their set of keys. Then, by the same logic, why would they be okay with having their identity’s safety rely on a single all-purpose identifier?

Just like an armored door is built with numerous reinforced key points, an identity should be protected via the combination of more than one identifier. This is common sense. Unfortunately, this is not how our system works — and the culprit is our social security numbers (SSNs).

SSNs were created in 1936 to keep track of the earnings history of U.S. workers for Social Security benefit computation purposes. Their purpose was limited. Today, SSNs have become the national identifier used by both the government and the private sector as a way to identify and gather information about an individual’s financial life.

Efforts have been undertaken to curb this expansion, from legislation such as the prohibition of displaying the SSN on driver's licenses or motor vehicle registrations, to recommendations including the President's Identity Theft Task Force asking that federal agencies reduce the unnecessary use of SSNs, which they called “the most valuable commodity for an identity thief,” and the FTC’s plea to private entities to find better ways to authenticate identities.

Despite these efforts, SSNs still reign unchallenged. An identity thief only needs to get his or her hands on the 9-digit number, which is registered in many places, to steal a person’s identity and wreak havoc in their lives, from opening fraudulent credit card accounts to filing fake tax returns and more. But in Europe, social security numbers are used for retirement benefits only. An identity thief would need a person’s national ID number, which appears in very few places, and banks often additionally require a copy of a passport or identity card to prove an identity.

Once the fraudster has gone to the trouble of acquiring these precious personal identifiers, he’ll want to make money off it. And what better way than to gain access to the victim’s bank account? In America, where the use of credit cards is largely accepted, the damage an identity thief can cause is immense, because it is not limited to the amount of money present is the victim’s bank account when the theft occurs. A huge sum of credit card debt can be amassed by a thief on a shopping spree.

Meanwhile, the majority of Europeans use debit cards, which limits the losses one would endure. What’s more, the United States is one of the last countries to still use magnetic strips which are easy to replicate and therefore more liable to identity theft. European countries use a system called EMV, which adds a security layer in the form of a PIN to credit card purchases.

Part of the shift to cards embedded with an electronic chip to greatly boost security, the PIN system was introduced in the U.S. starting in 2013, but despite the liability shift — entailing that retailers who do not buy the technology used to authenticate transactions be held accountable for any fraud that occur in their store — only 37 percent of U.S. stores now accept chip cards.

It will take some time for banks to update all of their ATMs. Besides, thieves have already found a way around it: they simply create a new bank account under the victim’s name, or make purchases online where the PIN number is not required.

At the end of the day, protecting oneself and one’s family from identity theft requires each of us to take decisive steps. Control your personal identifiers closely. Sign up for monitoring of your accounts, so you’ll get a warning of unusual activity. Finally, if your identity is stolen, be prepared to have a private investigator take the necessary steps to restore your identity to its pre-theft status.

Dave Coffey is senior vice president and chief digital officer of LegalShield, a leading provider of protection against identity theft solutions.

 

Kenyatta Turner, MM
Independent Associate | Executive Director
Business Solutions | Employee Benefits
www.kenyattaturner.com | (602) 367-1069 
 

Tags:  Employee Benefits  fradulent  fraud  identity protection  identity theft  Legal  legalshield  mobile apps 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Home Improvement Resolutions for the New Year

Posted By Vaunda Reese, Liberty Mutual, Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Liberty Mutual Insurance is proud to partner with Arizona Small Business Association to provide you with relevant auto and home safety tips for the way you live today.

 

Home Improvement Resolutions for the New Year

 

Improving things around your home can make your whole year happier and more comfortable. Here are a few do-it-yourself ideas to get your New Year’s resolution list started.

Focus on one room. Resolve to fix up just one room this year and give it your total attention. It can be as easy as replacing one old piece of furniture or hanging up some new artwork. Even tackling small home maintenance projects like cleaning out one drawer or cabinet each weekend will add up to a feeling of accomplishment.

Become more energy efficient with a programmable thermostat. Installing a programmable thermostat will help you save money. Program it to automatically lower your house temperature by 5 to 10 degrees while you're out, and again at night when you're sleeping.

Change your window treatments seasonally. Switch your window treatments to heavier drapes during colder weather to provide insulation and energy efficiency. Use sheer or lightweight curtains when the weather is warmer to give the room a lighter feel and allow more airflow.

Adorn your home with plants. Houseplants can absorb toxic substances in the air and release oxygen, helping to purify your home. NASA has even studied house plants as a means of purifying the air in space stations.

Commit to greening your home. Take a walk around your house and survey for opportunities to “green” your space. Switch to energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights (CFL) bulbs, look for areas that are drafty and add installation or weather stripping, and set up a recycling station in your garage to help reduce waste. These small updates can add up to energy savings in the long run, too.

 

To learn more about Liberty Mutual Auto and Home Insurance or get a free, no-obligation quote, call Vaunda Reese at (623) 572-4440 Ext. 56477 or visit Liberty Mutual.

 

Coverage underwritten and provided by Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and its affiliates, 175 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116. Reprinted with permission from Liberty Mutual. ©2014 Liberty Mutual Insurance



 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Employee Benefits  Home  Insurance  Liberty Mutual  Safety 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)
 

Affordable Dental Plans for ASBA Members

Delta Dental of Arizona

2 employees? No problem! We’ve got a dental plan to meet your needs & budget. Click to learn more!

LEARN MORE

Join ASBA

ASBA

ASBA is the most powerful resource for your business in Arizona. We ensure the tools we offer are valuable and support the growth, education and connections necessary for today’s top business minds.

LEARN MORE

Enterprise Bank & Trust

ASBA

Enterprise was founded on the idea of serving the lifetime financial needs of privately held businesses.Today, we continue to empower privately held businesses and also help families to secure their financial futures.

LEARN MORE

RSVP

Coffee Connect with ASBA

REGISTER

Date: Held monthly
Time: Click for times based on location

RSVP

ASBA Speed Networking

REGISTER

Date: Held monthly
Time: Click for times based on location

Have Questions on Health Insurance?

Health Insurance

Do you have questions on plans for Individual, sole proprietor, or group? We can get the answers needed to make sure you find the right plan for you and your employees.

LEARN MORE

Investment Partner Program

CopperPoint

ASBA’s investment partner program delivers your brand throughout Arizona. Share insights, connect with small business and highlight your company’s involvement with the association. Contact Jodi Towns to get started.

LEARN MORE

Speakers Forum

Speakers Form

We are looking for dynamic speakers to present inspiring content at our events. If you or someone you know is experienced capturing a crowd and delivering insightful topics we invite you to apply today.

APPLY TODAY

Association Management Software Powered by YourMembership  ::  Legal